[PYTHON MATRIX-SIG] Plotting packages

Johann Hibschman johann@physics.berkeley.edu
Fri, 7 Mar 1997 15:42:56 -0800 (PST)


On Fri, 7 Mar 1997, Jim Hugunin wrote:

> Am I missing any packages?  Am I wrong in my comments about any of these? 
>  It sounds to me like the Astronomers among us are only interested in 
> PGPlot.  Is this for historical reasons, or are there some features in this 
> package that are not supported by the others?

Well, I don't actually use it myself, but it's always on the list of
packages mentioned when discussing plots.  I get the feeling that most
people use SuperMongo or IDL, which are both proprietary.

Personally, I just use gnuplot and Mathematica for most of my plots. I
wrote a brief Python interface to gnuplot, which works in the simplest way
imaginable: it writes out temporary files of data and plotting commands,
then calls gnuplot on them.  That idea would work for any of the standard
interactive plotting packages, but is rather slow. 

> I have no intention (or really ability) to legislate a single plotting 
> package for NumPy.  Nonetheless, I'd be happiest if there could be a 
> consensus on a good system for general use.  I'd even be willing to write 
> the interface code to such a system to help get things off on the right 
> track.

Speaking of consensus, would it be possible to define a standard set of
basic NumPy plot classes and methods, which would then be implemented
through any of a number of plot packages?  I am thinking of something like
the os module; each OS has its own implementation of rm, ls, etc., but the
os module provides a universal interface, allowing easy portability.

There could be a basic plot interface which allows plotting of 1D arrays,
setting titles, setting axis labels, setting ranges, log scaling, etc., in
a standard way.  All these plotting packages do basically the same thing,
so shouldn't it be possible to define one interface to them all, with a
few special commands to provide access to package-specific features?  Or
is this more trouble than it's worth? 

- Johann

--
Johann Hibschman            | Grad student in Physics, lurking in Astronomy,
johann@physics.berkeley.edu | Probing Pulsar Pair Plasma Production Processes


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